Joe Root has succeeded Alastair Cook as the new captain of the England Test team while Ben Stokes has been appointed vice-captain. Root’s promotion to the helm of the England cricket team was confirmed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday.
The 26-year-old Root takes over the reigns from Cook, who stepped down as captain last week after a disastrous performance in the sub-continent. In England’s tours of Bangladesh and India, they suffered their first loss ever to Bangladesh while they were thrashed 4-0 at the hands of Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team.
Speaking on Root’s appointment, ECB chairman Colin Graves stated, “Root is the perfect choice for England Test captain. He has maturity beyond his years and having seen him develop at Yorkshire over the last ten years I know his qualities well.”
The elevation of Root and Stokes confirms their rising stock on the international stage. Root has been England’s premier batsman, averaging over 50 and scoring 4594 runs in 53 Tests since his debut against India in Nagpur in 2012.
Stokes, on the other hand, made a big mark in England with a century against Australia in Perth in 2013/14 in a series which they were whitewashed 5-0. Since then, he has become England’s premier all-rounder, averaging close to 34 with the bat in Tests and taking 79 wickets in 32 Tests at an average of 34.46.
England’s next Test assignment will be four Tests against South Africa after the Champions Trophy in June. They will then take on West Indies as their international summer closes and then they will embark on the Ashes tour Down Under in 2017/18.
During Cook’s reign, England registered a Test series win against India in India after 28 years while they won the Ashes at home in 2013 and 2015. In between, his reign was punctuated by a poor record against Pakistan.